Find me on Dayre!

Temporarily switching to Dayre because it’s more convenient to blog on the go. Well actually you can also blog on the WordPress app. But I like how short each Dayre post it – just 500 characters. And I can spam pictures hahaha. I think I’m using up my WordPress limited picture bandwidth. Yikes. 

And life is so packed with home renovation stuff + work! Times like this, I wish I can split myself. /:

My lunch kakis gave me a birthday treat today! E said that when he gets his house, he’s just gonna pay an ID $50k to settle everything for him. Maybe he got scared by all my lunch time updates – so many things to do!! But that’s just me. Dennis and I enjoy planning down to the smallest details of the house. I like, sorry I mean LOVE, choosing colours, designs, patterns. Maybe some people find it a hassle to make so many decisions. Because well there is such thing as decision fatigue. But where’s the fun when your ID does everything for you!?

So yeah. 

See you on the other side!! 🙂


BTO – Big Ticket Appliances

This weekend we spent close to $8,000 at Gain City Expo Fair. Glad we managed to settle the 4 big ticket items after months of researching and scouting.

Since it’s such a tiring process, I’ve summarized some learning points/ tips if you’re at that BTO phase too!

Pop by any malls that has Courts, Best Denki, Harvey Norman, Gain City, etc all under one roof.

Most shopping malls have a few of such shops together. Prepare a list of items you intend to buy. For us, it’s air-con, fridge, washer/ dryer, and dishwasher. Upon entering the shop, tell the salesperson what you are looking for and ask for recommendation. There are so many brands and models that we got very confused initially. Usually one shop will promote a particular brand. For example, LG is having their sales period now so most shops will promote their products. Take note when the salesperson is promoting a particular brand.

If you have specific requirements, please let the salesperson know too.

Some questions to consider:

  • External size vs internal capacity – depends on space available in your kitchen. And don’t be surprised some fridges look big but have small capacity.
  • How many doors?
  • Material – stainless steel, glass, etc?
  • Brand? After reading up and asking around, it seems like Mitsubishi Starmex is the way to go. I’m not sure if it’s due to their marketing tactics but everyone just recommends this!
  • System 2, 3 or 4? 2 means 2 air-con, etc.
  • 2 ticks or 5 ticks? 2 ticks is more energy efficient but will only be significant if you are a heavy-user. Meaning you will switch on all your air-con every day for 8 hours daily.
Washing machine
  • Top load or front load?
  • Size/ capacity? If you need to wash King-sized bedsheets, 8kg should be good.
  • Washer only or washer and dryer?
  • I don’t think this is very common appliance and to be honest, I have never really experienced using dishwasher. Only once or twice when overseas. But Dennis insisted to buy this. For my convenience (or maybe his, because my hands are sensitive to detergent so I can’t wash dishes without wearing gloves).
  • Size in the kitchen – it’s all standard size now 600 x 600 x 850. See if it can fit under your work top, else you will need a separate area.

Things to note on first shopping trip

Note down the brand, model number, and price of the item you want.

For each item, you might have shortlisted 2 or 3 models. If possible, take photos of all of them so that you can refer later on.

Research chosen items online

Now that you have shortlisted all the brands and models, it’s time to do your homework. I guess the important thing is to read if there are negative comments on the models you want. Generally people wouldn’t write positive stuff, only complain about the negative.

Look out for promotions/ fair/ sales

Now that you have decided which model you want for each item, look out for promotions or sales or fairs! For starters, you may consider going to the standard shops to compare prices first. Then attend one of those fairs and ask for more free gifts and push the prices down! Which is exactly what we did at the Gain City Expo Fair today! 😛

List of items:

  • Brand: Hitachi
  • Model: RVG560P3MS
  • WxHxD: 715 x 1835 x 740
  • Capacity: 450L
  • Courts Price: NA
  • Best Denki Price: NA
  • Harven Norman Price: $1,499
  • Lion City Price: $1,144
  • Mega Discount Store Price: $1,175
  • Gain City Expo Fair: $1,079 + free vacuum cleaner
Washing machine
  • Brand: Samsung
  • Model: WD80J6410AW
  • WxDxH: 600 x 600 x 850
  • Capacity: 8kg/6kg
  • Courts Price: $999
  • Best Denki Price: $999
  • Harven Norman Price: $999
  • Lion City Price: $1,040
  • Mega Discount Store Price: $988
  • Gain City Expo Fair: $945
  • Brand: Electrolux
  • Model: ESF5511LOX
  • WxHxD: 600 x 850 x 625
  • Water Consumption: 11L
  • Courts Price: $1,199
  • Best Denki Price: NA
  • Harven Norman Price: $1,199
  • Lion City Price: $1,064
  • Mega Discount Store Price: $1,099
  • Gain City Expo Fair: $1,099 + free induction cooker

For air-con, we actually had a very good deal with Enquicern Cool which was highly recommended by our new neighbours at Cape. You can contact Andy Ong @ 96840760. He quoted us $2,700 nett for Mitsubishi Starmex system-3, 2 ticks. It was a very attractive offer however the earliest installation date was 2 weeks later. We didn’t want to wait 2 weeks because it will delay our renovation schedule. We heard Gain City is a popular place for air-con so we enquired and eventually bought from them.

The same Mitsubishi Starmex system-3, 2 ticks costs us $3,089. A whooping $389 more. However we were convinced and even topped up for warranty and future servicing.

We later realized air-con servicing can be a DIY job. Oh well, since we already paid. Let’s observe their servicing for the first 5 years and later do the maintenance works ourselves.

So yes, you can conclude that the prices may not be the cheapest but are very competitive and value for money, I feel. Hope you find the tips useful! I’ll share pictures when the items get delivered! 🙂


BTO – Tiling in progress

Had an appointment with April at 10am. It is 10.30am and Dennis hasn’t arrived. =.= he got lost. Partly my fault cos I told him to alight at another (nearer) bus stop so he didn’t have to make a transfer and could walk to Cape directly. Google Maps pointed him in a wrong direction.

To happy news! Tiling is making good progress!

I am fascinated by tools so I go around snapping pictures.

We wanted more overlap between each tiles but tiler uncle said it will cause the tiles to warp and be uneven because we had such long tiles. We picked 92cm x 22cm tiles so the maximum overlap is 4 inches. I told uncle to randomise the overlap length because I like it like that. Haha. April said “oh this is interesting, I have to take a photo when it’s done!” She’s cute.

This is my tiler. Man with little words. He’s super humble and quiet and tiled the entire house by himself. Thumbs up!

And um, HDB your walls are warped! /: It wasn’t obvious because we didn’t notice it until the tiles are laid.

Oh and we didn’t raise any defects because there were hardly any! Are we lucky or are we just easy-going?

A teeny bit of tile peeking out at the edge. Cannot be helped because of tiles dimension vs room dimension.

Did I already mention my contractor, April, is very cute? Look at what she scribbled on MBR’s toilet bowl. She’s thoughtful like that! 🙂

BTO – Laying Tiles

Up bright and early today to meet our tiler!

It takes about 60 minutes to travel from Dennis’ house to Cape, while only 30 minutes from mine. Even though the distance is about the same. Poor him.

I’m so happy when I see the Cape Neighbourhood because it’s so bright white! Woohoo!

Wood-like ceramic tiles from Soon Bee Huat! I’m surprised the tiles from Spain are about the same price as those from China.

The tiler’s tool and what makes tiling so expensive! :O The new cement floor screed mandated by the government to use for all HDB. Costs us about $8k to tile the entire house, excluding kitchen, service yard, bomb shelter, and 2 bathrooms where tiles are already provided. We decided not to overlay to save some money.

So pretty!! 😀

Deciding on tiling pattern and tiling angle. Initially wanted a 20 degrees slant from the main door. Ask my engineer husband how he came up with that number. Haha. Decided against it because there will be lots of tiny triangle tiles at the edges of the walls. And thanks to my quick-thinking, future-proofing hubby – in case we need to sell the house in future, not everyone likes slanted tiles.

Bedroom next to the MBR. Looking out to beautiful white blocks. Awesome.

Instagram collage! I was fascinated by the laser level guide. Shoots a laser beam across the walls of the entire house so the tiler can make a mark on the wall. WOW! So cool!

Follow me @arohammer on Instagram for more pics! 😀

Side note: running a Black Friday sale on my Etsy shop! 40% off storewide or free shipping worldwide! No minimum spent required! 🙂 Happy shopping!

In search of Interior Designer (ID)

We started visiting IDs and getting quotations around May this year. I’ve put together a list of the ones we went to and the one we finally chose. Hope this helps!

Ansel Ng from 3D Innovations

Based on a friend’s recommendation and since it’s so conveniently located at Century Square, we went in for a non-obligatory discussion and requested for a quotation. At this point we are still unsure of our specific needs and are open to any good ideas that the IDs provide.

3D Innovations requested for a deposit before they provided 3D drawings. Read from this blog that you should avoid such companies so yes we heeded their advice and didn’t go ahead with 3D Innovations. I must say Ansel is really nice and patient with us, explaining the various options available. From then on, we realized that our requirements are quite simple so we decided to browse online for some inspiration.

Kyren from H20 Interior Renovation

Went on Qanvast and searched for the styles that we like. Found H2O Interior Renovation and emailed them for a quote. We didn’t meet Kyren but he did sent us a quote. After comparing, we decided his quote wasn’t competitive so we didn’t reach out to him thereafter.

Dylan Liow from Absolook

Heard many reviews about Absolook and decided to visit. Indeed they are very busy on a weekend with many customers in their office. Gave us assurance that they know what they’re doing and with big companies comes more trust. Dennis went to meet them first to get a rough quote. I went along at the second meet-up to clarify some items in the quote. And they gave us a voucher to redeem rice cooker. o.O We haven’t even signed anything with them. They are giving out lots of stuff and had contests ongoing. Seems like a fun company. They are also quite flexible in the sense that for items that we want to opt out, they will replace with something else. However the base package price doesn’t change so it’s still a little over our budget.

Shina from Direct Renovation and Design (DRD)

My colleague’s friend, Shina. Emailed her for a quote and met up with her. However we were not quite convinced with some of the things she said. Probably also due to the way she talks and lack of experience and she seems very young – in her 20’s. However they have their in-house carpenters and they all seem to know what they are doing and I trust their carpentry. We also asked to look at sample photos of the work that she has done and most of them are mock-ups / 3D drawings and not actual workmanship. Hence we decided to give it a miss.

Justin Tan from Ideal Design

Another colleague’s friend. Went to meet up with him and realized his quote is way too expensive. After all they are interior designers and very much into aesthetics of the house but we’re not too concerned with boxing up and concealing everything. Most of the works we saw are quite posh and luxurious. Not what we are going for.

Catherine Ng from Swiss Interior

Recommended by a colleague who used Swiss Interior few years back. However they have since expanded into a ID company instead of Contractor style. We spent 2 hours at their showroom and Catherine was very patient in explaining various designs to us and showed us what they could do. When wrapping things up, she actually told us that she will print out quote and asked for 20% deposit. We were quite surprised as this is our first time meeting her. We told her it is not within our budget as we are willing to forgo some items but she is not willing to remove it from the quote as “it comes in a package”. Hence we needed more time to think. Her face immediately changed. /: Decided not to discuss further as not to waste her time.

Conie from Wika Interior Design

We chanced upon this company in Dennis’ neighbourhood. Conie is super nice and friendly and made us really comfortable. She’s very honest with us and allowed us to voice our opinions while she listened. However she doesn’t seem to have any projects on hand so we are quite doubtful of the results. We actually shortlisted Conie after receiving our keys but finally decided on another company instead.

April Kam / Mr Teo from Joo Guan Huat Trading and Construction

Dennis popped by Joo Guan Huat one day after work since it was at Tradehub 21 (Jurong) and spoke to Mr Teo. He seemed to have a lot of experience and gave very good price for the things we wanted. However, I went down with Dennis on one weekend and realized his quote is not very comprehensive. I.e. he will miss out on some things and after looking at other companies’ quotes, we asked him about it and he added on to the quote. =.=

However we read online that April from Joo Guan Huat was highly recommended. So we decided to reach out to her. After receiving our keys, we were deciding between April or Conie. Decided to meet up with April since we didn’t meet her before.

We were mighty pleased!! 😀

She’s very accommodating, flexible and easy to work with. She’s very meticulous and has everything written down in the quote. She re-drafted the quote because she also admits that Mr Teo’s quote is not very clear. Haha. Furthermore she’s taking another project at Cape and has many recent projects with tons of photos to show us! Everything that we wanted to see, she has some actual pictures as reference. This further convinced us that she walk the talk. Since she’s working like a contractor, there is no “consultation fee” nor “3D drawing fee” nor “base package”.

It works on ala carte basis. Whatever we want, she will add to the quote and vice versa for things we didn’t want.

Best part – we haven’t paid the deposit but she already started working. T__T so nice!

We went to do site visit, choose tiles and confirm certain items together. When she has not taken a single cent from us. Love the trust that we have.

Highly recommended – April Kam @ 90610900.

Will blog more about our progress soon! 🙂

Can’t wait to start!

BTO – Choose Floor Tiles

On the day of door opening and defects checks, we actually spent the afternoon at Soon Bee Huat choosing our floor tiles. We have been to Hafary at Tradehub 21 but the selection of wood textured ceramic tiles were limited. We read online that Soon Bee Huat has more variety and indeed it was true!

The place is so big that there is a pantry area with free flow drinks. Perfect for customers to discuss some ideas with their IDs/ Contractors and slowly decide on tiles.

Types of flooring for your BTO

There are few types of flooring options including the 3 listed below. It’s best to do your homework and decide which suits your needs/ budget best.

  • Vinyl flooring
  • Laminate flooring
  • Ceramic tiles (also known as homogeneous tiles)

We decided on ceramic tiles because it’s easier to maintain and less harmful for crawling babies in future. Plus wood-like tiles are so pretty!! Because of the texture they are also less slippery when wet.

Selection at Hafary 


Selection at Soon Bee Huat 

Two storeys worth of pretty tiles to ogle at. I took pictures of the ones we shortlisted so it’s easier to decide. We prefer light coloured tiles so our house looks bigger. But not too white as dirt would be very obvious.

Finally decided on this! CT-Oban Silver in a really nice shade of brown. Slightly above our budget as most IDs/ Contractors will quote based on $3.20 psf tile price. Dennis said we’re going to do this once for the house so better choose something we like. We’ll have to adjust our budget for something else then! Thanks baby! 😀

Got a little scare when April went to reserve the tiles as there is insuffient stock. Omg! :O the very kind customer service lady helped to check against the reservation list and it so happened that the first customer she called up had decided to cancel the reservation. Phew!! Lady Luck was on our side! (:

Samples to bring home!

Let the renovation works begin!! 🙂

BTO Door Opening Day

My mum-in-law went to ask for an auspicious date and time for us to open the door to our new house so we arrived bright and early on Saturday morning.

First things first, we lighted the talisman outside the main gate to bring us good luck. And then, Dennis’ highly anticipated act of rolling the pineapple. He was so excited about it! I was more excited about the view from our living room! 😀

We did not perform any ritual of sorts but if you believe in them, you can take reference from here or here to do a door opening ceremony.

You will receive an allen key in your letterbox so make sure you follow the instructions to turn on the water supply. We tried to pry open the water points but the contractor later told us it was very difficult to do so she will help us check on that. If required, there is a water point (with tap affixed) in the service yard to test the water supply.

So so happy!!!I love that the Compassvale Cape neighbourhood is painted white and grey. Lovely neutral colours! The washrooms are thankfully in neutrals too! Otherwise I may consider to overlay the tiles. Money saved there! 😛

We also did not do a thorough defect check because our contractor will do that for us. She’s such a sweet lady and did not want to tire us out so she briefly told us what are the things she will check for and update us if she finds any major defects. We did walk around the whole house to see if anything was amiss. Also opened all windows to make sure they’re working well.

Since we are in the opt-out package, there’s really nothing much to check for. Except tiles in the kitchen, service yard and bathrooms. Looks like we will not be reporting any defects! Lucky us! 🙂